There were no tuxes, no ball gowns, no fireworks, no speeches and no cake.
More appropriately, the city of Howell decided to ring in Michigan’s birthday with local beer and local film — two forms of craft that we Michiganders take great pride in.
The ticketed birthday bash began at Eternity Brewing where guests were invited to a casual beer tasting and tour with the brewery founders and owners, Mike and Dayna Tran. While they talked, we drank.
“After opening, we knew we wanted to do something for Michigan’s birthday,” said Mike, “so these beers are brewed with all Michigan ingredients. Hops from Black Creek Farms. Malt from Pilot Malt House. Michigan apples and cider. Coffee from across the street.”
Previous to the special event this past Saturday, Eternity also released a specially brewed beer for each day of the week. Selection varied from a simple, dry cascade-hopped pale to an apple cider beer as well as a coffee brown. Each flavor and aroma was handpicked to complement local Michigan product.
Having just officially opened this past September, it’s impressive that Mike and Dayna have provided so many quality options for their patrons while coordinating special events as well. To give event-goers some history while we drank our sample of saison fare, Mike admitted, “I planted the seed in her head that I would like to open our own business in the future — I didn’t know that was going to be a brewery, but then we got so into beer. And all of our ideas formed into this BIG thing. And we thought, we’re young, let’s give it a shot.”
Both have multiple years of home brewing experience, but when comparing it to a larger scale, Dayna says they don’t expect consistency. “I think that takes away from the craft of it. We just kinda go for it,” she said.
Mike adds that brewing is similar to cooking. “After you’ve done it for a few years, you can start to predict how things are going to turn out and start tailoring recipes.”
However they combine recipes with experimentation — it’s obviously working. They have gotten tremendous support from their community and growing customer base.
“We consider all suggestions — and we ask. And believe me, our regulars let us know if there’s anything off,” Mike adds.
Building on that theme of community, event guests next drove five minutes away to the Historic Howell Theater to continue the Michigan ode to the craft industry with a viewing of “The Michigan Beer Film,” originally released in 2013.
Once a community attraction, Tyler DePerro, theater owner, maintains that he’d like to continue to grow the theater as a venue not only for films, but also concerts, educational seminars and other community events.
“We originally talked with Eternity Brewing to see if we could get local beer in here,” he said, “but they’re not close to canning yet. But I’d love to do other events with them in the future.”
Before we sat down, he gave a guided tour of the historic landmark, haunted bits included. Established in 1928, this theater began as a one screen viewing platform.
“There was a stage and space for an orchestra pit — they did vaudeville here and everything.”
Taking us backstage, DePerro showed us that even with extensive, modern renovations, this historic landmark holds onto its roots.
“There are bits of the original curtain, and up there are some old seats, and these pillars used to frame the original screen.”
After grabbing some popcorn and snacks to balance out the beer consumption at Eternity, we all took our seats in the cozy theater.
Running at just over two hours, “The Michigan Beer Film” (Rhino Media Productions, directed by Kevin Romeo) displayed the hard work, support and passion of the craft industry in Michigan.
We were shown endless, towering rows of hops being grown right here in Michigan. New entrepreneurs building their craft futures right here in Michigan. Brewers talked to us. Farmers showed us their country. Patriarchs of the industry like Rex Halfpenny and Larry Bell were repeatedly hailed by everyone being interviewed. “[They] are what started it all — the godfather, the uncle of craft beer.”
Everyone in the film reminded viewers what the meaning of ‘craft’ really meant for Michigan inhabitants. It’s dedication, drive, heart, soul, community, risk — all combined to celebrate something we may not need as humans, but something we will never stop enjoying. Like Rex Halfpenny famously stated, “Man’s the only animal on the face of the planet that drinks when he’s not thirsty.”
New brewers and enthusiasts, such as Mike and Dayna at Eternity Brewing, keep the Michigan craft dream a growing tradition. Whether it’s the state that makes the beer, or the beer that makes the state, Michigan will continue to be defined by its local craft. With each passing birthday, craft enthusiasts raise their glasses to this state. Michigan. The best state ever, in our opinion.

There were no tuxes, no ball gowns, no fireworks, no speeches and no cake.

More appropriately, the city of Howell decided to ring in Michigan’s birthday with local beer and local film — two forms of craft that we Michiganders take great pride in.

The ticketed birthday bash began at Eternity Brewing where guests were invited to a casual beer tasting and tour with the brewery founders and owners, Mike and Dayna Tran. While they talked, we drank.

“After opening, we knew we wanted to do something for Michigan’s birthday,” said Mike, “so these beers are brewed with all Michigan ingredients. Hops from Black Creek Farms. Malt from Pilot Malt House. Michigan apples and cider. Coffee from across the street.”

Previous to the special event this past Saturday, Eternity also released a specially brewed beer for each day of the week. Selection varied from a simple, dry cascade-hopped pale to an apple cider beer as well as a coffee brown. Each flavor and aroma was handpicked to complement local Michigan product.

Having just officially opened this past September, it’s impressive that Mike and Dayna have provided so many quality options for their patrons while coordinating special events as well. To give event-goers some history while we drank our sample of saison fare, Mike admitted, “I planted the seed in her head that I would like to open our own business in the future — I didn’t know that was going to be a brewery, but then we got so into beer. And all of our ideas formed into this BIG thing. And we thought, we’re young, let’s give it a shot.”

Both have multiple years of home brewing experience, but when comparing it to a larger scale, Dayna says they don’t expect consistency. “I think that takes away from the craft of it. We just kinda go for it,” she said.

Mike adds that brewing is similar to cooking. “After you’ve done it for a few years, you can start to predict how things are going to turn out and start tailoring recipes.”

However they combine recipes with experimentation — it’s obviously working. They have gotten tremendous support from their community and growing customer base.

“We consider all suggestions — and we ask. And believe me, our regulars let us know if there’s anything off,” Mike adds.

Building on that theme of community, event guests next drove five minutes away to the Historic Howell Theater to continue the Michigan ode to the craft industry with a viewing of “The Michigan Beer Film,” originally released in 2013.

Once a community attraction, Tyler DePerro, theater owner, maintains that he’d like to continue to grow the theater as a venue not only for films, but also concerts, educational seminars and other community events.

“We originally talked with Eternity Brewing to see if we could get local beer in here,” he said, “but they’re not close to canning yet. But I’d love to do other events with them in the future.”

Before we sat down, he gave a guided tour of the historic landmark, haunted bits included. Established in 1928, this theater began as a one screen viewing platform.

“There was a stage and space for an orchestra pit — they did vaudeville here and everything.”

Taking us backstage, DePerro showed us that even with extensive, modern renovations, this historic landmark holds onto its roots.

“There are bits of the original curtain, and up there are some old seats, and these pillars used to frame the original screen.”

After grabbing some popcorn and snacks to balance out the beer consumption at Eternity, we all took our seats in the cozy theater.

Running at just over two hours, “The Michigan Beer Film” (Rhino Media Productions, directed by Kevin Romeo) displayed the hard work, support and passion of the craft industry in Michigan.

We were shown endless, towering rows of hops being grown right here in Michigan. New entrepreneurs building their craft futures right here in Michigan. Brewers talked to us. Farmers showed us their country. Patriarchs of the industry like Rex Halfpenny and Larry Bell were repeatedly hailed by everyone being interviewed. “[They] are what started it all — the godfather, the uncle of craft beer.”

Everyone in the film reminded viewers what the meaning of ‘craft’ really meant for Michigan inhabitants. It’s dedication, drive, heart, soul, community, risk — all combined to celebrate something we may not need as humans, but something we will never stop enjoying. Like Rex Halfpenny famously stated, “Man’s the only animal on the face of the planet that drinks when he’s not thirsty.”

New brewers and enthusiasts, such as Mike and Dayna at Eternity Brewing, keep the Michigan craft dream a growing tradition. Whether it’s the state that makes the beer, or the beer that makes the state, Michigan will continue to be defined by its local craft. With each passing birthday, craft enthusiasts raise their glasses to this state. Michigan. The best state ever, in our opinion.

Local, fresh produce or beer? You take your pick.
Lansing’s Horrock’s Farm Market is known, not only for their produce variety, but also their beer variety, with thousands of individual beer varieties from hundreds of different brands.
What started as a fruit stand in the Lansing City Market in 1959 has now developed into its own large store that has recently even added a tavern.
The Horrock’s Tavern, opened last summer, features 50 different draft beers that customers can choose to enjoy in the store, or outside of it.
“[Customers] can grab a beer or a glass of wine and visit or walk around the market and shop,” said Dan Dunn, manager at Horrock’s.
With the addition of the tavern, Horrock’s is able to offer beers from small Michigan brewers that do not bottle.
“It gives our customers a chance to try something from a brewery they have not heard of or would not get a chance to visit,” Dunn added.
Not only do the added taps give customers an opportunity to try new Michigan brews in store, but customers can also get growler fills, with the help of the new growler law passed in 2013. The store sells their own growlers, but will also accept other growlers for fills.
The tavern is constantly rotating their beers on tap, and the amount of individual bottles available grows continuously, which is likely due to Dunn’s passion for beer and wine and having a wide variety for his customers.
“Beer and wine have been a passion of mine for a very long time; it’s exciting to be able to take a hobby and interest and then actually work in the beer and wine world,” Dunn said.

Local, fresh produce or beer? You take your pick.

Lansing’s Horrock’s Farm Market is known, not only for their produce variety, but also their beer variety, with thousands of individual beer varieties from hundreds of different brands.

What started as a fruit stand in the Lansing City Market in 1959 has now developed into its own large store that has recently even added a tavern.

The Horrock’s Tavern, opened last summer, features 50 different draft beers that customers can choose to enjoy in the store, or outside of it.

“[Customers] can grab a beer or a glass of wine and visit or walk around the market and shop,” said Dan Dunn, manager at Horrock’s.

With the addition of the tavern, Horrock’s is able to offer beers from small Michigan brewers that do not bottle.

“It gives our customers a chance to try something from a brewery they have not heard of or would not get a chance to visit,” Dunn added.

Not only do the added taps give customers an opportunity to try new Michigan brews in store, but customers can also get growler fills, with the help of the new growler law passed in 2013. The store sells their own growlers, but will also accept other growlers for fills.

The tavern is constantly rotating their beers on tap, and the amount of individual bottles available grows continuously, which is likely due to Dunn’s passion for beer and wine and having a wide variety for his customers.

“Beer and wine have been a passion of mine for a very long time; it’s exciting to be able to take a hobby and interest and then actually work in the beer and wine world,” Dunn said.

HOWELL — After months of intense renovation, the caterpillar that was once the Shark Club of Howell has emerged as the butterfly that is now Block Brewing Company, the latest Michigan craft brewery to open its doors to a public increasingly craving fresh, local beer.

Named after automotive engineer turned brewhouse designer turned college instructor turned brewer Tom Block, the former multi-tap bar, grill, nightclub and poker palace now offers 10-12 brewed-on-site beers alongside several dozen taps of other Michigan brews. The menu has likewise undergone a transformation, from a fairly standard “pub grub” orientation to a sumptuous new bill of fare specializing in barbecue dishes like ribs, smoked chicken wings, and brisket. Sides including salads, beans and mac and cheese are also available.

It’s all the result of the collaborative vision put together by owner-operator Mike Magyari, general manager Richard Gonzales, and Block himself.

“Over the years the billiard and nightclub business has changed, and when we decided to go in a craft beer direction it was really successful, so we decided to change the name and start brewing,” said Magyari. “Tom had been a longtime Shark Club customer and we talked about doing something like this for a while, and finally it kind of just came together.”

“I’ve been in food service for about 30 years with a lot of chain experience, but what got me excited about this was the craft beer aspect as well as being part of an independent operation, where you aren’t beholden to stockholders and can be more involved at the local level,” said Gonzales. “I’m an avid consumer of beer — working with a guy like Tom is going to make it that much better.”

Block brings many years of zymurgical experience to his new role as head (and so far, only) brewer, including a past brewing stint at the now defunct Michigan Brewing Company; brewhouse design consulting for the likes of Grand Rapids Brewing Company and HopCat East Lansing; and several semesters teaching the art and science of beermaking under the auspices of Michigan State University’s Artisan Distilling Program.

On tap for the December 17 opening were his Hop Genius IPA, Love Me Session IPA, Cross Eyed Moose Brown Ale, Braided Blonde Kolsch, Transporter Porter, Blackout Stout, Wired Coffee Porter, Blood Red Orange IPA, Alias Amber Ale, Burnt Shugga Crème Brulee Coffee Stout and what seems destined to become the flagship: Block Pale Ale.

“The pale ale is 100% single hopped with Galaxy, a beautiful, beautiful hop. I’ve got enough supply to keep that on all the time,” said Block. “This is the beer I deliberately made for myself.”

Beers from other prominent Michigan breweries like Bell’s, Founders, New Holland, Short’s, Dark Horse and Brewery Vivant filled out many of the other taps. As a brewpub licensee, Block also offers a full bar including wines, spirits and liqueurs, for those times when you (or your date) just don’t feel like beer.

As for the interior atmosphere, the aquariums, poker and pool tables, pinball machines, and other accoutrements from the Shark Club days have been removed in favor of a uniform and cozy dark wood paneled look. The seating alongside the windows facing the parking lot has been replaced with the brewhouse, which sports a brand new seven-barrel system from Quality Tank Solutions of Wisconsin. (The space, naturally, was designed completely by Block, who says of his system, “She’s a beauty.”)

Future plans include more experimental and barrel aged beers, a possible Mug Club membership, beer dinners and other special events, and, down the line, perhaps even expansion and distribution if business takes off.

“We’ll start here first, build our brand, and then see where it goes,” said Block.

Block Brewing Company is located at 1140 S. Michigan Ave. in Howell in the space formerly known as the Shark Club. Open every day from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Phone: 517-540-0300. On the web: blockbrewingcompany.com.

Since I’ve lived in the Lansing area, I have found that many of the area’s hidden gems are found in strip malls, which, although may appear not-so-pretty on the outside, can house truly beautiful things.
Vine & Brew in Okemos is one of these places, with its beautifully green walls lined with beer and wine from all over the world — but most importantly, Michigan.
Owners Curt and Leslie Kosal opened the store three years ago, and have been focused on growing their product since day one.
“We saw an opportunity to have a store that featured good beer, wine and food that you might not find in other places,” Curt said, who previously worked as a wine manager at a local grocery store.
“We are constantly sampling new products, seeking out small producers, and listening to our customers about what they are interested in.”
The store is sectioned well by wine, food and of course, craft beer, meads and ciders, all at an affordable price.
“One of the things we’ve done from the beginning is to offer all the beer in the store by the single bottle. We encourage people to try the wide variety of craft beers available, without breaking the bank,” Curt said.
Vine & Brew has hundreds of different bottles to choose from, so there is a great opportunity to try many different beers.
For the holidays, Vine & Brew is featuring custom-made baskets, such as a hop-lover basket and a “bucket o’ Christmas beer.” Not only are their ready-made baskets for pick-up, but you can also pick out your own items for them to create the baskets for you.

Since I’ve lived in the Lansing area, I have found that many of the area’s hidden gems are found in strip malls, which, although may appear not-so-pretty on the outside, can house truly beautiful things.

Vine & Brew in Okemos is one of these places, with its beautifully green walls lined with beer and wine from all over the world — but most importantly, Michigan.

Owners Curt and Leslie Kosal opened the store three years ago, and have been focused on growing their product since day one.

“We saw an opportunity to have a store that featured good beer, wine and food that you might not find in other places,” Curt said, who previously worked as a wine manager at a local grocery store.

“We are constantly sampling new products, seeking out small producers, and listening to our customers about what they are interested in.”

The store is sectioned well by wine, food and of course, craft beer, meads and ciders, all at an affordable price.

“One of the things we’ve done from the beginning is to offer all the beer in the store by the single bottle. We encourage people to try the wide variety of craft beers available, without breaking the bank,” Curt said.

Vine & Brew has hundreds of different bottles to choose from, so there is a great opportunity to try many different beers.

For the holidays, Vine & Brew is featuring custom-made baskets, such as a hop-lover basket and a “bucket o’ Christmas beer.” Not only are their ready-made baskets for pick-up, but you can also pick out your own items for them to create the baskets for you.

Nestled between college town and the state capitol, Oades Big Ten Party Store keeps Lansing craft beer fanatics from going thirsty.

Oades Big Ten, along with the East Lansing Big Ten party store, opened in 1991 shortly followed by the Okemos, and then later, the Holt locations. By the time that Oades Big Ten general manager, Kevin Albery, began as a clerk in 2000, the store was already well known for their wall of beer.

“As far as I know, we have been selling individual bottles for as long as we have been selling microbrews,” Albery said.

That wall of beer currently holds between 600 and 700 different varieties of craft beer, spilling over to another wall of ciders. Oades Big Ten also carries a sizable wine selection and the largest liquor assortment in the area.

“We’ve accommodated the craft beer boom by staying true to our original business plan for this location, carrying as much of the product that’s available to us as possible,” Albery said.

Even with a recent addition of extra coolers, the physical space of the store limits the products available; however, the store has combatted their space limitations by adding presale or reservation lists for highly limited products.

“We don’t feel that it’s fair to sell Founders KBS or Bell’s Black Note on a first come, first serve basis, so we allow our customers to sign up and have an allocation of these beers held for them for a few days,” Albery noted.

The store makes an effort to accommodate their customers and fulfill special orders whenever they can, from orders of cases to preorders of certain seasonal varieties.

Despite Lansing not being a home to many craft breweries, the help of Oades Big Ten, as well as other area businesses, help keep the Lansing area craft beer industry strong.

Whether you’re gifting craft beer this season, or just need something to get through the winter, you won’t be disappointed with Oades Big Ten’s selection. Make your own 6-pack for a 10% discount, or grab a quick 4-pack for a 5% discount. Visit them online for more specials at bigtenpartystores.com.

 


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